In this series, I’m discussing The Lord’s Prayer, and why I believe that it is one of Jesus’ most radical and challenging ideas. The prayer is meant to be descriptive of how to pray, not prescriptive on what to pray. In part 3, we’re looking at Jesus’ understanding of “the Kingdom,” what it meant to him, and why his interpretation would have been radical.
After Jesus had taught his disciples to pray to God as if they were talking to their own father, he turned to look at the divine landscape.
When you pray, say…
“Thy Kingdom come.”
When the U.S. landed on the moon more than 55 years ago, astronaut James Erwin prayed for the first time in his life.
He told an interviewer later that, at that moment, he had looked up to the earth with all its beauty, and he thought of his wife – somewhere on the earth; he thought he must return and put right an argument he had had with her; he thought of all the wars and hunger on our beautiful planet… and then he said: “What is more important than man walking on the moon is that God should walk on earth.”
Martin Luther writes in the Small Catechism, “God’s Kingdom comes indeed without our praying for it, but we ask in this prayer that it may come also to us.”
That doesn’t mean we can become complacent, passive or apathetic. Oh, no. Calling the Kingdom of God down to earth is a passionate act of love and involvement in our world.
Praying, “Thy Kingdom come,” is to open our hearts and minds to the various ways God might use us to bring God’s “reign” to this earth.
That is radical.
Through ordinary people like us, God, the Universe, Love might find a way to walk this earth and do something extraordinary.
Thy Kingdom come.
This is the essence of one of Jesus’ most significant teachings: The realm of God is here, now, all around us on this earth.
Not on Mt. Sinai, not in the “sweet bye and bye.”
God’s great, good place has come to earth – or, at the very least, the earth holds the potential for it.
Jesus taught that when we pray correctly, we willingly open ourselves to be the conduits through which God ushers in the Kingdom of Heaven.
So, in following with Jesus’ radical teaching about “the Kingdom,” I offer this suggestion:
When you pray say, “This world is not what it should be but it is ready to be what you desire it to be – to be what it oughta be. Let us be your hands, your feet, your face, your love to one another and to the world.”
Up next: When you pray, say…
“Give us each day our daily bread.”